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Commentary: Health worker abuse offends all

That at least 500 cases of health-care worker abuse are now occurring every month represents a very dark chapter for Alberta

With Alberta’s multi-billion dollar health-care system continuing to function under immense pressure – including dealing with many non-vaccinated individuals who have contracted COVID-19 and are now crowding intensive care units ICU and other hospital beds – the doctors, nurses and other health workers on the frontlines are providing invaluable service to the community-at-large.

Without the outstanding commitment and professional dedication shown by those individuals over the many months of the pandemic, Alberta’s current COVID-19 death toll of more than 3,100 would certainly be even higher.

Without question, every Alberta community, including in this region, owes a debt of gratitude to those health-care workers that can never be fully repaid.

As such, recent revelations that high levels of verbal and even physical abuse of health-care workers in Alberta continue to be seen in rural and urban hospitals and clinics is both shocking and something that must be addressed.

According to Alberta Health Services, an average of 18 reports of harassment and violence against health-care workers are now being reported every day in this province.

That at least 500 cases of health-care worker abuse are now occurring every month represents a very dark chapter for Alberta, all at a time when the pandemic has already caused immense damage to the province’s health, education, business and social community.

When health-care workers rose to meet the unprecedented challenges created by COVID, they put themselves in harm’s way so that ordinary Albertans could continue to enjoy the highest quality of medical care available anywhere. What they did not agree to was to be abused and threatened. 

Dealing with threats, harassment and violence should not be part of anyone’s job, and certainly not in hospitals and clinics where doctors, nurses and other health-care workers are working 24-hours a day to keep people alive.

The Jason Kenney UCP government must take immediate new steps to defeat those individuals who think abusing doctors, nurses and other health-care workers is acceptable behaviour.

Dan Singleton is an editor with The Albertan.

Dan Singleton

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